“I unequivocally support Theresa May, and do not covet her job,” writes Jacob Rees-Mogg in The Daily Telegraph. “Second, if I did I would be a fool, for only in Opposition do political parties choose leaders who have never held high ministerial office.”
Having said that, however, the popular backbench Tory MP went on to outline the principles he thinks should guide the Tories in the years ahead. His article on “how the Tories could lead better”, says Katy Balls in The Spectator, “[poured] petrol” on reports over the weekend that he is sounding out friends and considering throwing his hat into the ring. Could he possibly win?
He has “developed a cult following, with Tory activists deeming him to be the Conservative answer to Corbyn”. But there’s a practical problem: a Conservative leadership contest works against such “rogue candidates” because, unlike in the Labour party, a candidate has to get through several rounds of votes by MPs. God help us if he does somehow get through, however, says Matthew Parris in the Times. It would probably mean the end of the Conservative party.
“While his manners are perfumed… his opinions are poison. Rees-Mogg is quite simply an unfailing, unbending, unrelenting reactionary.” Not only is he a “brute moral conservative”, but he is a “straight-down-the-line supporter of every welfare cut I’ve checked”. Unless Rees-Mogg and his coterie are confounded, we could see “the death of the broad-church Conservative Party” and “the formation of a new centre party”.